Heart's Blood

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Heart's Blood

Book 2 in the steampunk blood magic universe

Grey Carteret is the magister of the conjour’s guild.  That is to say that Grey is the head of the conjour’s guild.  He’s extremely powerful and does not take apprentices.  He has several spirits that he uses as his familiars.  So, when he wakes in an alley with what appears to be a young boy requesting to be his apprentice, he immediately refuses.

Pearl Parkin can do some magic.  She can’t be admitted to the school for magic though as she is a female.  Master magicians can take female apprentices and she’s determined that Grey Carteret will take her on even if she has to blackmail him to do it! 

There are 4 schools of magic; conjour, alchemy, wizardry and sorcery.  The last sorceress died over 2 hundred years ago and just recently a new one was found.  They are looked on with suspicion as the magic that they weld is called blood magic and involves blood.  Many older magicians resent them and would like them to just go way.

Sorceresses are urgently needed though due to places called dead zones where no magic can be found.  If all four magics bind together they can put a wall around a dead zone keeping it from spreading.

Back to Grey and Pearl.  Grey has no desire to have an apprentice while Pearl insists on becoming Grey’s.  With Grey in jail and depending on Pearl, can she get the leverage she needs to get him to agree?  If he does, where do they go from here?  There aren’t many sorceresses around and Grey is pretty sure Pearl is one, and a powerful one.

I fell in love with this book from the first couple of lines and couldn’t help but to share them with several of my friends who read fantasy.  “Grey Carteret woke in a foul mood.  One generally did when one woke lying facedown in a gutter reeking of things best left unmentioned, with no idea of how one arrived in said gutter.”  What a great way to introduce one of the leading characters in a book!

The characters are fantastic.  They’re intense and driven.  They become real.  Grey has responsibilities but he also has demons from his past that influence his present.  Pearl has the ability to do many things but not the training.  Together Grey and Pearl form a bond that neither expects.  Secondary characters aren’t shadowy things but vibrant and with great personalities.  The magister of wizardry hates women and goes to great lengths to make sure everyone knows.  Elinor, another apprentice, takes charge insuring that Pearl and Grey’s reputations aren’t hurt when they spend more time than they should together.  Large role or small, the characters take form and take charge.

The world that they live in is complex and interesting.  Not everyone is magic, yet magic is everywhere.  The backdrop is Victorian England but it’s an England that we have never seen.  Nothing is left to chance and as the book develops so does the world.

While this book is marketed as a paranormal romance, I would have never placed it there.  Yes, it has paranormal elements with all the magic going around and it has romantic elements with Grey and Pearl but it has much more.  I found it to be more of a historical fantasy mystery.  There is a killer on the loose and it’s using magic.  Can they find it before it kills again? 

Heart’s Blood is the second book in a series.  The first was New Blood.  While the characters of New Blood are in Heart’s Blood, you do not need to read the first to enjoy the second.  Each book can stand on its own though events from the first are mentioned in the second.

As I said, I shared the first couple of lines with several friends who read fantasy.  I’m going to highly recommend that they read this series.  I think they will enjoy it.  As for pure romance readers, they may have a bit of trouble getting into this book.  While there is a romance going I felt that it was more of an addition to the story. 

Darn it, I want to know why the dead zones!  I want to follow the reintroduction of sorcery.  I want more!

Book Blurb for Heart's Blood

Master conjurer Grey Carteret regains consciousness in a London gutter next to a concerned street urchin and not far from the body of a man murdered by magic. Some fool is hoping to use murder to raise a demon. Arrested for the crime, Grey must rely on the street urchin for help. But the lad turns out to be a comely lass, and she wants something in exchange.

Pearl Parkin, a gently reared lady struggling to survive in London’s slums, sees magic as a way out of the life she finds herself trapped in. But blackmailing Grey into making her his apprentice has unexpected consequences. As they plunge into the hunt for the murderer, Pearl discovers that the things she once desperately wanted are not as important after all, and that she must risk her blood, her heart and her very life to grasp the love she needs.

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2009 5.00